IMAGE AS A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR IN BIOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL EVOLUTION
In order to fully understand the meaning behind the photos which are going to be transmitted to the Earth, we need to look at image information as a factor shaping our biological evolution.
Its fundamental role in that process is rooted in the quality of electromagnetic radiation as a wave which travels with the highest known speed in the natural world (i.e. information contained in the modifications of that wave reaches us faster than any other known carrier), and which is the only thing capable of crossing the void of Cosmos, still being available to our senses. If there was no light, we would not be able to see neither Moon nor stars, and consequently we could not construct any imagined space beyond our most immediate environment. We would not even know that Universe existed. (...)
THE MOKOTOWSKIE MILITARY FIELDS
Warsaw’s economic growth was accompanied by its gradual transformation into one of Russia’s border towns, which involved the city’s gradual militarization. Amongst the general reconstruction, large areas of the city and of the foreground were designated and built up for military purposes: as training grounds, warehouses, and parade areas.
The extensive Marsowe Pole (Mars Fields) and called the Plac Broni (Arms Square) appeared in the region of today’s Stawka and Dzika streets – a place where great army parades, for which Grand-Duke Constantine had a predilection, were held. TO the north, in the Żolibord district, the barracks of the Imperial Foot Guards were rebuilt, while to the south of the city, exercise grounds for the Russian cavalry were designated under the name of Mokotów Military Fields. (...)
NOWOCZESNY AKADEMICKI KAMPUS OCHOTA I PROJEKT WARSZAWA
Fragment wielkiego uniwersyteckiego centrum akademickiego nauk ścisłych Kampus Ochota. To realizacja jednej z planowanych jeszcze przed wojną na terenie Pola Mokotowskiego budowy miasteczka akademickiego współtworzonego przez Uniwersytet Warszawski, Politechnikę Warszawską, Szkołę Główną Handlową, Akademię Medyczną i Szkołę Główną Gospodarstwa Wiejskiego.
To właśnie tu: na wydziale Biologii i Centrum Nauk Biologiczno-Chemicznych narodziła się idea interdyscyplinarnej Varsavianistyki – miasta jako zjawiska w przestrzeni fizycznej i zarazem stanu umysłu, odchodząca od schematu wiedzy o mieście ograniczonej ujęciem historycznym. (...)
Each of us needs a heart, this source of emotions and feelings, and at the same time the most vital part of our body, pumping blood to make our organism function. For Warsaw, similar role is played by the system of waterworks and sewerage, respectfully called “Warsaw Water Filters.” This vast, green area with underground infrastructure is the constantly beating heart of the city. (...)
Ujazdowski Castle was built by Zygmunt III in the place of a former stronghold of the Mazovian dukes, which had been burned during a incursion. In the middle of the 18th century, the next owner of the castle, King Stanisław August, commissioned its redesign into a monarchical residence. The reconstruction of the castle was accompanied by the extension, this time towards the west, of the existing small axis to the east.
The Stanisław axis, one of the largest spatial developments in the Warsaw of that time, was inspired by French urbanistic ideas, and has had a lasting effect on the development of southern Warsaw: until today large fragments of the original are legible in the cityscape. (...)
Medieval Warsaw, which was located on a rise, was supplied with water mainly from the many nearby steams, naturally flowing towards the Vistula, and by numerous sources and wells. The little streams on the rise, supplied in large measure by rainfall, were not hydrologically stable. In time, a system was built with water retention reservoirs called nalewki.
The next stage in the history of Warsaw’s water supply, at the beginning of the 16th century, was the bringing of water from the nalewki directly into the Old and New towns by means of a system of wooden pipes, into which the water was manually pumped. In the middle of the 18th century, at the initiative of the then mayor of Warsaw, Dulfus, pumps were placed on the receiving pit. This was the first municipal water mains.
However, the growing city needed much more water and, in addition, the sources and streams started to dry up. (...)
The wooden houses for the construction workers of post-war Warsaw. They were designed to last for fifteen years. Nevertheless, many of them are still standing today, surrounded by natural green enclave in the center of Warsaw.
Ivy twigs grow and spread themselves inside bathrooms and kitchens of those houses. Much has changed, but nature and history are not the only extraordinary qualities of this place. The Finnish houses settlement in Jazdów is one of the most peculiar socio-cultural spaces in Warsaw. (...)
AVE UNIVERSITAS VARSOVIENSIS, AVIATURI TE SALUTANT!
The BALLOON-SCI-ART-GALLERY Team flying over Warsaw wishes a happy 200th birthday to the University of Warsaw!
We can wish nothing but all the best, as our Team Leader has been working at the University for over 50 years.
THE GREAT IMPROVISATION
A spacious plaza in the city centre, one of the focal points in the history of the city and its citizens', has been a theatre of emotional upheaval for Poles.
Formerly, it used to be the courtyard of the Saski Palace and a part of a great urban scheme, Saska Axis, constructed by King Augustus II the Strong. In the period of partitions, when Poland lost its independence for over a century, the square hosted drills and military parades under the watchful eye of the Great Prince Constantine. It was here where the Russian occupant erected a monument for seven Polish officers who chose the side of the oppressor in the November Uprising of 1830. It had been standing for over fifty years, from 1841 to 1894. After that, an enormous Orthodox church was built (1894-1912). St. Alexandre Nevski's church was supposed to demonstrate the dominance the Orthodox belief in the region. (...)
AT THE MARKET SQUARE OF WARSAW’S NEW TOWN
The New Town, one of the most beautiful spots in Warsaw. It emerged as a twin settlement of the Old Town in the 14th – 15th century, but it never gained as much recognition. This has not changed until today. While the noisy Old Town is bustling with tourists, the New Town is a good place to enjoy peace and quiet. In the past, one of the frequent guests of the Vistula River cliff near St. Mary’s Church was Maria Skłodowska-Curie, Noble Prize winner in chemistry for discovering polonium and radium. She used to come here to look at the river and contemplate. It was her place, not very far from her family house on Freta Street.
In this temple of tranquility, near the market square, you will encounter an extraordinary white church with adjacent monastery of St. Benedict’s Sisters of the Holy Sacrament. (...)
In the past, the centre of the town was determined not by the old town square but by the Royal Castle. Since those times its location has changed many times. Where is it today?
Mathematically the centre of the town can be determined as the weighted means of the surface. The question is, what criterion to take to determine its borders: administrative area or social one? (...)
WARSAW SCARP - INTELLECTUAL GARDEN
Warsaw Scarp, often pronounced with respect to emphasize its special status, is actually... slowly disappearing. Due to the terraced structure of the riverbank, there are many scarps in Warsaw, but even the highest of them is now barely visible under the continuously growing wave of buildings. The scarp exists in two worlds, so to speak, on the one hand regarded with pride, on the other – urbanized and devastated. (...)
Warsaw still echoes with Chopin's music. Frederic Chopin was born in nearby Żelazowa Wola and spent his youth in Warsaw. It was here where he first fell in love, composed, and matured as a man, Pole and world-class composer. After his death, his heart returned to Warsaw, owing to his sister's efforts. Wandering around the city, you can encounter a number of places associated with Chopin: the place where Saski Palace stood, the buildings of Warsaw University, the park on the bluff behind the Casimirus Palace, Chopins' sitting room in Krasiński Palace, the palaces of Radziwiłł, Czapski and Morsztyn families, the Visitationist Church, Belvedere, the Holy Trinity Evangelical Church, or St. Cross Church. Each of those places is marked by a small stone bench, which plays Chopin's most notable compositions. Can you imagine the contemporary Warsaw without him?
In the very center of the picture - The Ostrogski Palace, where the Fryderyk Chopin Museum is located.
Chopin's music was also played in space. (...)
We have received greetings from astronauts!
Hello Marek and the balloon team and participants - good luck in your flight over Warsaw! I really enjoyed seeing Poland and Warsaw from space, and I’m sure your mission will have stunning views. I wish that I could be there with you, but I look forward to seeing some of your images. Hopefully in person, sometime soon!
Astronaut Terry Virts
THE CASTLE AND THE CITY’S ROOTS
It is generally thought that today’s Warsaw emerged out of the growth of the Old and New Towns. But perhaps it all happened quite differently.
The stronghold tower, a distinct fragment of the city walls and the initial the seat of the Castellan in Trojden’s time, rebuilt as the ducal Curia Maior, and later as a castle that was the seat of Royalty, slowly evolved into the centre around which, independently of the existence of the Old and New towns, in time emerged a distinct magnate city – today’s Warsaw the capital. (...)
THE VISTULA IN WARSAW – XIX CITY DISTRICT
The history of the Vistula in Warsaw area goes back several thousand years ago, when there was a big post-glacial loam reservoir. Novadays no one things about river in such categories.
The climate warming caused the retreat of ice, releasing the water flow. Currents appeared in the stagnant lake. Cyclical processes of stagnation and water flow – resulting in alternating sediment accumulation and erosion – shaped subsequent horizontal river-terraces in the valley of Vistula. Three higher levels of terraces have been formed during the final stages of the last glaciation, and the lowest floodplain came into being already in the Holocene epoch. (...)
THE WARSAW CORSET AND THE TREASURE ISLAND
The Warsaw Corset is the area from the Old Town to Młociny, where the valley of Vistula is the most narrow, its width spanning 400-500 m.
Apart from that, at the level of the Citadel, river stones formed a belt from one bank to another, creating a natural dam. When the level of the water is low, the dam transforms into one-meter high waterfall. (...)
THE NATIONAL STADIUM AND PRASKI PORT
After the Second World War wastelands and meadows of Skaryszew became the dumping place for huge masses of rubble from the central part of the ruined city. The rubble was then formed into a bowl on which the 10th-Anniversary Stadium was constructed. Today, the old open-air stadium has been replaced by the modern National Stadium, built for Euro Finals 2012.
It is the most technologically advanced stadium in Poland. Although its shape has irreversibly dominated the landscape, it plays a vital role for large-scale sports, cultural, business, religious or political events. The stadium has become one of the marketing brands of Warsaw. (...)
The higher we rise above the ground, the wider are our horizons; the horizons of perception and understanding. Still, this is when little, everyday things escape our attention, and it is the little things, like atoms, that form our reality. Even the widest perspective needs a pair of down-to-earth lenses to fully grasp our surrondings.
TIME HAS A DIFFERENT PACE WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
Balloon moves with the speed of the wind, so when you are in its basket you feel as if you were standing still and it was the cityscape of Warsaw below that was moving. The relations between sensory perception and rational thinking are an outcome of the relativity of the systems in which we exist.
As we are flying, many more associations about the relativity of time come to our minds, some of them not really connected with our senses. (...)
THE ARTERY OF IMAGINATION
The arteries of the greater city area are urban lay-outs whose role is to channel and manage the traffic. Let’s exercise our imagination and try to separate the very idea of communication from the material environment in which it takes place. Digital technology has made it possible to process an aerial photo and to create an image of just the distribution of the street traffic in non-material space. Looking at an authentic situation on the road, let’s try to recognize the rules guiding the movement of cars and trams. We might also make an attempt to improve efficiency and to work out new, revolutionary rules for municipal communications.
It is important to recognize the main premises of communication. Perhaps, inspired by the image, we might stand on some stretch of street, on some intersection, and imagine how it could look from the air? This is a good exercise for the imagination, and imagination leads to discovery.
In the distance we can see the balloon team conducting the tests of the atmosphere: Michał Chiliński and Bohdan Paterczyk from the Faculty of Physics and the Faculty of Biology at the University of Warsaw.
They are making physical measurements, including spectrometry, and
they are taking samples of the particulates in the air. (...)
WARSAW - UNIQUE LOCATION BETWEEN VAST FORESTS
Dunes, are one of the most precious and most beautiful elements of the natural scenery of Mazovia, next to the Warsaw Plateau and Vistula River Valley. Today, pine forests grow on most of them.
Extensive forests, remains of the former Mazovian Primaeval Forest until the Middle Ages stretching on both sides of the Vistula, still surround today’s Warsaw from the north, east and south. (...)
The Warsaw millennial panorama is a two-dimensional photographic visualization of space taken from the highest point in the city – exactly from the level of the millennium clock suspended just under the spire of the Palace of Culture and Science. It is the second complete panorama ever made of the city. At the time of its creation, it was probably the largest image of its type in the world. (...)
The longest flying balloon with the surface observation team landed in Helenów, which ended the mission flight over Warsaw.
Apart from the imaging equipment and the prototype of the first Polish satellite PW-SAT built by students of the Warsaw University of Technology, the balloon was carrying the balloon mail from the Pola Mokotowskie. The mail included specially designed for the occasion postcards and postage stamps issued by Poczta Polska.
Additional info for the balloon mail:
N 52o 12’ 50’’ E 20o 59’ 35,5’’
N 52o 22’ 49,8’’ E 21o 13’ 47,5’’
Balloon crew: chief of the fligth and responsible for transporting of the balloon mail dr Marek Ostrowski, foto transmission Michał Ostrowski, pilot Roman Bauta